A Paris court has ruled that the 14 people accused of complicity in a series of deadly militant Islamic attacks in January 2015 are guilty, British broadcasting firm BBC reported.
The assault that started with an attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, followed by an assault on a policewoman, and later a Jewish supermarket that left 17 people dead, were alleged to be a coordinated Islamic militant attack.
All assailants in the separate attacks — brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachie, and Amedy Coulibaly — were killed in a police shootout later.
After 54 days of hearing, the Paris court ruled that the 14 accomplices were found guilty on various charges, ranging from membership of a criminal network to direct complicity in the attacks. Terrorism charges however were dropped for six of the 11 defendants but was also found guilty of lesser crimes.
Of the 14, three were tried in absentia.
Of those not in the court was Hayat Boumeddiene, the fugitive partner of Coulibaly who was killed in the attack on the supermarket, fled to Syria a week before the attacks. She was found guilty of financing terrorism and belonging to a criminal terrorist network and was handed a 30-year jail sentence.
Boumeddiene was accused of preparing the attacks and used a variety of methods to buy the weapons.
Mohamed Belhoucine, a close friend of Coulibaly was also tried in absentia for giving the killer operational support as well as acting as his religious mentor, and was given life imprisonment.
Mehdi Belhoucine, a younger brother of Mohamed also tried in absentia, was charged for helping Hayat Boumeddiene escape but was not sentenced after the court ruled he was already judged in an earlier trial.
The two who left France after the attacks are thought to have died fighting with Isis in Syria.
Of those that were charged in person, the main defendant Ali Riza Polat was found guilty of complicity in terrorist crime and was given a 30-year jail term.
Polat was described as Coulibaly’s right-hand man, and was instrumental in preparing the attacks and a “precise knowledge of the terrorist plan,” according to prosecutors.
Amar Ramdani and Nezar Mickaël Pastor Alwatik, former co-detainees with Coulibaly, meanwhile were found guilty of belonging to a criminal terrorist network. The court ruled that they knew of the existence and nature of the plan to attack the Hyper Cacher supermarket. Alwatik’s DNA was also found on two pistols at his home, while Ramdani was accused of providing weapons.
Both men, along with Saïd Makhlouf was described as being part of a support group based in Lille in northern France.
Four others, based in the Ardennes area of Belgium, were found guilty of being part of a criminal network and given sentences of between five and 10 years.
The case stemmed from a series of attacks starting with an assault by the Kouachi brothers in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo in the Rue Nicolas-Appert, killing 9 staff as well as building maintenance and two police officers, one of which was while escaping, over the publication of caricature depicting the prophet Muhammad.
The Kouachis were killed in a shootout with police two days later.
The day before the Kouachis were discovered north of Paris, Coulibaly shot dead a woman police offer in Montrouge. The next day, Coulibaly attacked the Hyper Cacher supermarket, killing four Jewish people and taking other staff and shoppers hostage. Coulibaly would then get killed in a shootout with the police the same day.
Photo byNicolas Vigier/Flickr